‘Jarhead’ producers discuss film careers

Chronicle Staff

Impatient actors and a crew of technicians anxiously watch the cloudy gray sky as they pace back and forth. Above them on the top of a hill, a herd of cows patiently nibbles on a few blades of grass. When the sun’s rays finally fight through the clouds and illuminate the set, the director yells “Roll cameras” and crew members goad the cows into action. As the herd frantically stampedes down the hill, two of the cows suffer heart attacks and collapse.

Doug Wick ’72 (Sarah ’05, Julia ’07, Tessa ’09) worked as an additional crew member on the film “Comes A Horseman” before he became a major producer. Now, Wick and wife Lucy Fisher are the producers of movies including “Jarhead,” “Gladiator” and “Memoirs of a Geisha.”

“It was like having fat, middle-aged people running down the hill,” Wick said about the experience. “I was stunned at the incompetence.”

Wick and Fisher told this story and gave advice about working in the film industry to alumni and others Oct. 26. The event, called “An Evening with Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher,” was arranged by the Harvard-Westlake Entertainment Network and hosted by Ted Walch, Chair of the Performing Arts department. When Walch asked the two about their greatest disappointment as producers, they immediately agreed on “Jarhead.”
“I’m still surprised that it got so little respect from the critics,” Fisher said. 

When they worked on “Stuart Little,” the technology necessary to create a fully computer animated protagonist was just being developed.

“For a movie to be good, there’s always some feeling of the stars aligning,” Wick said.